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Our dogs come into our lives as “just the family pet,” but before we know it they become drinking buddies and fuzzy shrinks, playmates and Cheerios-munching vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks and sleeping partners. And, in their mysterious and muttish ways, our dogs become our teachers.
When Dana Jennings and his son were both seriously ill - Dana with prostate cancer and his son with liver failure - their 12-year-old miniature poodle, Bijou, became even more than a pet and teacher. She became a healing presence in their lives. After all, when you’re recovering from radical surgery and your life is uncertain, there’s no better medicine than a 23-pound pooch who lives by the motto that it’s always best to play, even when you’re old and creaky, even when you’re sick and frightened.
In telling Bijou’s tale in all of its funny, touching, and neurotic glory, Jennings is telling the story of every dog that has ever blessed our lives. The perfect gift for animal lovers, What a Difference a Dog Makes is a narrative ode to our canine guardian angels.
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By elaine on 12-12-10
A Serving of Treacle
Dogs are fascinating creatures, the only animal that science knows of who have adapted themselves to living with another species,humans. It is true that without humans, dogs would not survive. Coppinger estimates, as I recall, 3 months after the last human has died, the last dog will die. However, dogs are not parasites. They live off of humans, but they're willing to work for their keep, to the point of facing danger, pain, and death, if need be. In turn, humans would never have evolved culturally as they have had dogs not been willing to herd not only sheep, but cattle and horses. There is no way that humans could have domesticated the horse without herding dogs. There is no way that humans could have spread across the globe without dogs.
This book certainly does no justice to dogs as a species. The anecdotes about the author's dog do not enlighten us in any way about what dogs are capable of. They're not even funny. The author wastes words marveling about how curly his dog's tail is and how the dog chases it.
I don't mind anecdotal accounts of dog behavior. Everything I read doesn't have to be scientifically worthy, but this is just plain boring--and so sweet you might gag on it.
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